Today, fashion is an extremely important aspect. What brands you wear, what shoes you wear, where you shop and much more all play big roles in society today. However, Fast Fashion poses a large problem that many of us are unaware of.
Fast Fashion is inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. The increase in demand of the most popular trends affects the way in which the clothes are actually created. The factories in which the clothes are made are forced to make the products quicker and in a large amount because of the high demand. Unfortunately, this immensely increases carbon emissions, a leading cause of climate change. In fact, the fashion industry actually makes up 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. Furthermore, the production causes large pollution in rivers and streams and can even dry up water sources. And if that wasn’t enough evidence, 85% of all clothing products end up in Landfills every year. All of this is calling for a change.
Here are some reasons to stop shopping Fast Fashion:
One of the first large reasons Fast Fashion is harmful to the environment is due to the amount of waste the production causes. Every single year, the world as a whole consumes more than 80 billion items. This evens out to around 80 pounds per person. This number largely contributes to waste pollution because most people will throw a large number of their purchases out to keep up with the speed of the changing of trends. However, the large concern with waste and Fast Fashion is the clothes waste. The Environmental Protection Agency stated that in 2017, landfills received 11.2 million tons of textiles, whereas only around 20% of all textiles get recycled or reused. This means that 80% every year is being wasted. Less than 1% of textiles that are recycled are being made into new fabrics. When this large amount of textiles are sent to landfills most of it ends up being incinerated.This also contributes to CO2 being released into the atmosphere. 1.2 billion tons of CO2 is being released every year just by the fashion industry.
Another way that Fast Fashion is immensely harmful is the water pollution that is created because of the textiles being used. In order for brands to keep up with the new trends, and quickly produce clothes, so, fabrics that are used to make clothes aren’t usually the best. The fashion industry is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply, which also makes the industry the second largest polluter of the world’s water supply. On average, it takes 2,720 liters of water to make one t-shirt. That is about what people drink in a three year period. More than half a trillion gallons of water are used in the dyeing process of textiles every year. It has been found that in India, washing water from dyeing textiles usually goes untreated and released into rivers which eventually release into the ocean. This water is highly toxic and can be extremely harmful to aquatic life. China has an even worse situation. Being the largest clothing exporter, the EPA has said that almost ⅓ of their rivers are too polluted for humans to go in contact with.
This has become an extreme problem for a lot of big clothing exporting countries. Most of those countries cannot even use most of the water used in the production of clothing. The two most popular fibers polyester and cotton take up 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of all insect repellents. These chemicals contaminate our already very low amount of the world’s fresh water, and can extremely change ecosystems. This has caused a large increase of disease over the years. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of Fast Fashion. It is not safe for people or for our environment. There needs to be a change.
Here are some things you can do:
- Know your brands!
Know what brands contribute to Fast Fashion, and find out if the places you shop do or not.
- Find out what brands are sustainable! Research!
There are SO many brands that you can trust! There are brands that use sustainable fabrics, that use a low amount of water and low waste in general. Brands include:
- Alternative Apparel
- Read Labels!
Look out for warnings, read to see what fabrics were used in that article of clothing. See if it is made with recycled materials, or if they are using high polluting fabrics like Polyester.
- Wear your own clothes for longer!
Expanding the time you wear your own garments by 9 months could save 10% more water, 8% more carbon and 4% more waste.
- Shop second hand!
Thrifting not only saves you money, but it saves clothing from going into landfills. It lowers the clothing demand which would inevitably slow down the rate in which companies create new clothes. Less materials are being wasted. All the resources are going into those clothes and not new clothes.
- Be conscious when washing!
Make sure you aren’t washing your clothes every single time you are washing them; the dyes and chemicals can go into the water systems and you waste an extreme amount of water! Try to use colder water, which saves more energy.
- Develop your own style!
Don’t buy clothes just because you want to be trendy or because it’s cool; buy things that you love and that don’t just follow what is popular. Developing your style can help reduce the demand of trendy items continually being created.